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Ainge on The Big Show: Trade rumors fiction

01.27.10 at 5:24 pm ET

Celtics boss Danny Ainge joined Glenn Ordway and the gang on The Big Show Wednesday afternoon to talk about Glen Davis, Kevin Garnett’s return, trade rumors and his long-term philosophy.

On Glen Davis wanting to change his nickname: Did this upset you guys in the front office?

Why would it upset us in the front office? First of all, this guy and all the players, there are people around them constantly. It’s why I don’t think players should Twitter or Facebook, there are so many things said on the spur of the moment that aren’t thought through. I don’t think there was anything he meant. Maybe he just thought he should change his nickname and it becomes a huge story. It’s incredible to me. I know Glen. I know his intentions. I know where his heart is and what his goals are. I just think it was blown completely out of context.

Why engage this after getting fined [for the Detroit incident]?

My thing is why would you ever want to bring attention to yourself when things aren’t going great. Glen is a funny guy. He’s an outgoing guy, he’s a very spontaneous guy and I think that, not making any excuses for him, of course that wasn’t a great thing to say, but it doesn’t change how we feel about him. We just know his personality and those kinds of things come out of him. I don’t think he has any selfish motives by doing it, or things that go against the grain of the team, it was just not the brightest thing for him to say.

He hasn’t played as well this season, obviously the injury had a lot to do with it, but he hasn’t seemed as bouncy and funny when he’s talking to the media. Away from the press, is he the same personality?

Yeah, he’s a good personality. He’s happy when he comes in every day. he puts his work in. I think he was humbled by the whole experience. I think the difference is, he hasn’t had a chance to play. You don’t get that rhythm. He was getting 15 and 7 last year in the playoffs. I’m very confident that if something happened to one of the guys ahead of him in the rotation and he was put in a position to play the minutes that he did last year he would produce every bit like he did last year, if not better.

You’ve had Kevin Garnett back for a few games. How has it worked out?

I think probably better than we expected after a guy was sitting out for a while, from being rusty and having his timing off. He’s been making shots, and making big shots for us down the stretch of games. You see the energy that he brings to our defense, and just the accountability and confidence he gives to our players when he’s on the court. It’s every bit as important as his production. He’s been huge, and health-wise he’s good. He looks great in practice. He’s still obviously not as bouncy as he was two years ago, but he’s better than he was last year and I think he’s better today then he was in training camp.

If he’s not on the floor against the Clippers, you might not win that game.

Oh, I don’t think we win the Portland game or the Clipper game without him. The rebounds were a little bit deceiving. Perk ended up with 15 rebounds and sometimes when you have two big guys the ball just goes to the other side of the rim. Our team was rebounding the ball was fine and our guards did a good job of getting back in and getting rebounds. It doesn’t matter who gets the rebounds as long as when he’s on the court, our team is rebounding.

I’ve been reading a lot of Ray Allen stories …

You’ve been reading one Ray Allen story.

Let me rephrase it: I’ve read a lot of different stories about one Ray Allen rumor. How’s that?

There you go. That’s my point. There’s one little rumor, that’s made up by the way, that gets reported that actually ends up being a story every day for a couple of weeks. That’s the point I’m trying to make.

You know how it works. The question then is: Have you talked to Ray Allen or is this so preposterous that you don’t feel a need to talk to him?

No, I did talk to Ray. Ray gets it. He’s been in the business a long time. He knows there’s no such thing as players being untradeable. He knows he’s 34 years old and at the end of his contract. At the same time he knows that he is a very valuable piece to what we’re trying to do right now, which is win a championship, and he’s one of our key components. So, he gets all of it and he understands the business. It’s unfortunate that someone says something and then players have to respond and coaches have to respond for weeks at a time sometimes, with no validity to it. But, at the same time they’re big boys and they’ve been through it.

How do you deal with it, unless you say we are not 100 percent trading someone, when you don’t know what your team might look like when you get closer to the trading deadline?

I answer every question truthfully of the players that come in or the agents that call me about the circumstances of a rumor. Any question they about their future I address it straight on. I tell them the circumstance. Tell them things I would consider doing if something ever approached itself, things I wouldn’t do. I just tell them square on.

Is this just the time for rumors?

There’s a lot of rumors that are out there that I read each day that there’s no validity to them. Not involving the Celtics, involving other teams. I just laugh at some of them. they make no sense. They don’t work financially and they’re just not going to happen. They don’t work from a basketball standpoint even if they did work mathematically. Then there’s a lot that work mathematically that just make no logical sense, but there have been trades that have been done like that too. It’s just that time of year. Everybody is in a race to try to find something new, to have people read their stuff. Like they know what’s going on more than anybody else, and I just don’t believe any of them really do know what’s going on.

You’ve made it clear in the past, with Red [Auerbach] holding on to the original Big Three, that you would have made some of those trades. You have set yourself up that you would not be sentimental. Are the players aware of that?

Yes, but there’s one big difference in the situation that I was in as a player in Boston. In 1988, we knew we had no chance of winning a championship. Larry Bird was in two casts on his feet. Kevin McHale wasn’t the same player he was physically. We weren’t close to winning a championship. Our better days had gone by and we were on the way down. We could be a decent team but we were never going to be a great team again with the same cast of characters.

I think that’s different. Right now, with our Big Three we have a legitimate shot at winning a championship. It doesn’t mean that we’re the favorites, it just means that we have a chance. There’s a difference between breaking up something that could win a championship and those opportunities just don’t come along all the time. That’s the difference between 1988 and now.

What can happen in the offseason with an expiring contract?

First of all, we can re-sign the player and have him stay on at whatever number that works for both parties. Or we could do a sign-and-trade, which is sign a player and simultaneously trade him to another team. So you use that asset to get another value. Or you let that player go to another team which gives us money in our budget. Although, it’s not like the old days where if you lose a $16 million player you have a $16 million salary slot to spend. We’re over the salary cap so we would not be able to do that. If we lost a player the most we could replace a player for, without doing a sign-and-trade would be the mid-level exception.

Which would be about $6 million?


Could the free agent market work in your favor with a player like Ray Allen, when there are so many players in their prime available?

Where Ray is at in his career would warrant that, even without the market there. There are teams that would love to have Ray for the same reasons we love to have Ray. It’s hard to find guys that can make big shots. I’ve said this before, but Reggie Miller was a factor in the playoffs at age 39. Just because he could shoot and he knew how to play. He certainly wasn’t the same player at 39 that he was at 32, but he was an effective player. I think Ray has a lot of basketball in him.

Next three games: Orlando, Atlanta and the Lakers. What will this tell us about the Celtics?

I think it will tell us where we are now in comparison with some of the best competition in the league. Going to play in Orlando and in Atlanta on back-to-back nights and then coming home and playing the Lakers. There’s a lot there in three days that we’re playing. I think it will tell us a lot about our depth, our conditioning and the quality of our play right now.

Are you anxious to see the 2009-10 Celtics fully healthy?

Absolutely. It will be fun. We’re hoping if we can just stay together over the next couple of weeks. Marquis [Daniels] will be back soon, and then even at that point we haven’t had our whole team together so we haven’t had an opportunity to play lineups that Doc [Rivers] envisioned in training camp. It will be nice to get him back right after the break and start doing that. I don’t think we’re going to click on all cylinders right after the break, but I believe that by the middle of March hopefully we’ll get some momentum going for the playoffs.

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